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THE THAW
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Reviewed by: Mike Catalano

Directed by: Mark A. Lewis

Starring:
Val Kilmer
William B. Davis
Aaron Ashmore
Anne Marie DeLuise
John Callander
Kyle Schmid
Steph Song
Martha MacIsaac

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Four scientific college students win the chance to study alongside a brilliant global-warming doctor, played by Val Kimer!, waaaaay up north in the Arctic. Little do they know that some prehistoric parasite has just been thawed out and is looking to spread one major inf*cktion!
Is it good movie?
Damn, I've really got to stop making these flicks sound better than they actually are. I've never been a fan of so-called "infection" genre movies mostly because there is no life-sized or even visible baddie to battle. Don't get me wrong, though. Some are handled very well (CABIN FEVER), but most just seem to be pretty lame (THE HAPPENING). I guess the whole "horror/thriller" element hinges greatly on how said "infections" mold the characters. Sadly, THE THAW lingers mostly on the lame end of the spectrum.

What's even more disheartening is that the flick had a pretty cool, interesting, well-though-out, and creepy opening which started off with "Mad Morrigan" ominously addressing a video camera and then cut to a nifty compilation of news stories and online videos all relating to the general theme of THAW's internal terror. From there, it seems that Mr. Kilmer either hung up the phone or had call waiting because he completely disappears from the screen. From that point on, it's just a long hour of non-scary scenes depicting the students and their helicopter pilot either slowly figuring out what happened to Val and his crew, or becoming sick, or both. There's zero well-crafted tension and zero shots of comic relief. The whole thing kinda makes you feel like you've contracted some kind of drudging, monotonous fever that prevents any kind of fun.

The acting was okay for the most part, I suppose. I mean, there won't be any MTV Movie Award nominations, but Aaron Ashmore (SMALLVILLE and the upcoming THE SHRINE) did a fairly competent job at making me believe his character's actions. The real standout for me was actually the high-voiced Martha MacIsaac (THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake). Though meek-seeming, I believe this chick has the chops and the pipes to do some nice damage to the genre (that's a compliment).

That's about it in terms of the positive. Unless, of course, you're into the creepy crawly shit big-time because you do get your fair share of "many-legged" action. For me, however, the extra gooey grossness investment was not at all compensated by a compelling enough tale or environment. By the way, there were also a tad too many happy coincidences that occured to sew up the plot, including one friggin' doozy involving a helicopter. I mean, the box for the DVD boasts that it's from the makers of the EVIL DEAD trilogy. If you're going to spout shit like that, you'd best back it up.

Video / Audio
Video Widescreen 2.35:1

Audio English 5.1 Dolby Digital, with Spanish subtitles

The Extras
A Trailer gallery.

A Behind the Scenes featurette that wasn't much more interesting than the flick.

Some micro video called Ghosts of Plauge which is essentially a Ghost House Underground promo.

Last Call
When Mr. Kilmer does pick up the phone to rejoin the movie, there's a scene near the end where he's emitting the strangest expression. I honestly couldn't tell if he was laughing, in pain, or high. That expression is how I'd like to sum up THE THAW.

P.S. I hope you guys got my "Val phoned in his performance" references.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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